Continuing Western Watersheds Project's long-term efforts to bring protection to iconic animals of the American west, WWP has followed through on legal efforts to protect the Sonoran Desert Tortoise and the Pygmy Rabbit:
On February 2, 2010 Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s failure to decide whether the Sonoran desert tortoise deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act. The conservation groups submitted a scientific petition in 2008 requesting federal protection for the tortoise. Although the Service issued a positive preliminary decision on that petition in August 2009, its final decision on whether to protect this tortoise under the Act is overdue by Desert Tortoisethree months.
The petition demonstrated that monitored populations of the tortoise have declined by more than 51% since the government originally refused its protection two decades ago.
Pygmy RabbitIn 2008, Western Watersheds Project won a court order requiring that the US Fish and Wildlife Service decide whether Pygmy Rabbits deserve Endangered Species Act protection.
After determining in January 2008 that protection for Pygmy Rabbits "may be warranted", the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to meet the legal deadline for a conclusion on protecting the species.
On February 3, 2010 WWP filed new litigation in federal court asking a judge to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a decision on whether to protect imperilled Pygmy Rabbits.